Oral Health and Overall Health
A healthy mouth is always good for our body!
There are many people who do not connect their mouths to the rest of their bodies. But there is a link because of tooth decay (cavities) and periodontal (gum) disease that leads to many serious health conditions. Nowadays, with the help of scientific evidence, the connection between oral infections and other diseases in the body is becoming widely accepted as well as understood.
The gum disease and the cavities are chronic and contagious oral infections. They can lead to major health concerns. Moreover, they can negatively affect the course of other diseases and treatments. Prevention is always considered as a key for maintaining good overall health. Therefore, proper oral care, as well as regular professional scaling (cleaning) by a dentist, are very important for keeping the mouth and body healthy.
Always keep in mind that brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist can protect you from far more than cavities. If you want to know how oral health is a window to overall health, you are reading the right post. This article tends to highlight the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health. Let’s discover them!
What is oral health and overall health?
Oral health care is a practice that results in a mouth that looks and smells healthy. It means that:
- Your teeth are clean, healthy as well as free of debris
- Your gums do not hurt or bleed while brushing or flossing
- You do not have a constant problem of bad breath
A fact is our mouth contains many harmless bacteria like other areas of the body. The body’s natural defenses and good oral health care can keep these bacteria under control such as daily brushing and flossing. If we do not pay attention to proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach the levels that might lead to oral infections for example tooth decay and gum disease.
Moreover, certain medications can reduce saliva flow. These include decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants. Saliva helps to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth by washing away food and neutralizes acids that are produced by bacteria in the mouth.
According to recent studies, oral bacteria and the inflammation that is associated with periodontitis play a major role in some diseases. Moreover, certain diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS make oral health problems more severe by lowering the body’s resistance to infection.
The Mouth and Body connection
This is a strong connection between mouth and body. According to recent research studies, there is a link between periodontal disease and a person’s overall health.
Due to oral infections, microorganisms or bacteria are produced that enter the bloodstream or airways and travel to other parts of the body. Such types of bacteria have the potential to worsen or increase the risk for other types of health problems for example heart disease, stroke and respiratory disorders. Moreover, gum diseases can also make it difficult to control diabetes. They may also contribute to premature and/or low birth weight babies.
Studies also suggest that bacteria from gum diseases can also contribute to the formation of artery-clogging plaques and to infective endocarditis, a condition in which the interior lining of the heart and heart valves become inflamed. If it is left untreated, this condition can lead to heart disease and stroke.
What conditions may be linked to oral health?
Many conditions may be linked to your oral health. These include:
It is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium) that typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from your mouth spread through the bloodstream. They, then attach to damaged areas in your heart.
2- Cardiovascular disease
Oral bacteria can also cause cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke.
3- Pregnancy and birth
The problem of periodontitis can be linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Moreover, certain conditions can affect your oral health. For example:
Diabetes usually put the gums at risk by reducing the body’s resistance to infection. The people who have diabetes can have more frequent and severe gum disease. Moreover, according to the research, people who have gum disease have a harder time to control their blood sugar levels.
People having HIV/AIDS usually have oral problems such as painful mucosal lesions.
It is a disease that causes bones to become weak as well as brittle. It can also be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Moreover, the drugs that are used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
How dental plaque is linked to infections and diseases?
There are approximately 500 species of bacteria that thrive in your mouth at any given time. These bacteria produces dental plaque which is a sticky and colorless film that can cling to your teeth and cause health problems.
How can I protect my oral health?
Now the question arises here that how I can protect my oral health to protect my overall health. The answer is quite simple: to protect your oral health, you need to practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:
- Try to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth daily.
- Follow a healthy diet plan.
- Always try to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
- Go for regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid the use of tobacco.
Moreover, you should always contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises because taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health!
To sum up:
Always keep in mind that oral health offers clues about your overall health or we can say that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. Therefore, try to protect yourself by learning more about the connection between your oral health and overall health.
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